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Newsline - January 24, 1996


YELTSIN, ZAVGAEV ON CHECHEN PROSPECTS.
President Boris Yeltsin met on 23 January with his envoy to Chechnya, Security Council Secretary Oleg Lobov, to discuss the situation in Chechnya and sign a decree on the economic restoration of the republic in 1996, Interfax reported. Addressing the first session of the new Federation Council on the same day, Yeltsin reiterated the Russian leadership's commitment to resolving the Chechen conflict through "patient dialog" with all parties concerned while at the same time cracking down on terrorism and hostage taking. Meanwhile, the exchange of hostages taken at Pervomaiskoe for the bodies of Salman Raduev's men who were killed there failed to take place as scheduled on 23 January because Russian investigators had not succeeded in identifying all 153 corpses found in the village, Russian media reported. -- Liz Fuller

YABLOKO TO PROPOSE NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE.
The Yabloko Duma faction has collected 45 of the 90 signatures needed to call a vote of no confidence following the government's handling of the Pervomaiskoe hostage crisis, Russian media reported on 23 January. However, Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev said the Communist Party probably will not support Yabloko's motion, since the party is satisfied with the recent cabinet reshuffle, especially the resignations of Andrei Kozyrev and Anatolii Chubais. Seleznev said the Communist deputies will reserve judgment until they see the government's new proposals. -- Laura Belin

ZHIRINOVSKY PRAISES YELTSIN.
Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said that he liked President Boris Yeltsin's position on terrorism in Russia and his "corrections to the course of reform," ITAR-TASS reported 23 January. Zhirinovsky emphasized that he would not criticize the government if its policies started to produce a real improvement in the lives of ordinary Russians. Zhirinovsky's remarks followed Yeltsin's speech opening the Federation Council session. Zhirinovsky has often supported Yeltsin policies in the past and may now be seeking a more overt alliance with the incumbent president to win ministerial appointments for his party. -- Robert Orttung

LAST TWO DUMA COMMITTEE HEADS APPROVED.
Nikolai Gerasimenko and Vladimir Goman were appointed to chair the Duma committees on health and northern affairs, ITAR-TASS reported on 23 January. Both are from the centrist Russian Regions faction, which initially refused to fill the Duma posts allocated to it on the grounds that the committees had been unfairly distributed. -- Laura Belin

FEDERATION COUNCIL ELECTS FORMER POLITBURO MEMBER AS CHAIRMAN.
The Federation Council elected former Politburo member and now Orel Oblast Governor Yegor Stroev as its new chairman on 23 January, Russian media reported. Stroev ran unopposed. He stressed that his priorities would be to address the problems of federalism, including the "complete lack of coordination" among Russia's regions and republics. He added that he would also work on improving the attendance records of Council members; the previous Council often had difficulty gathering a quorum because its members were too busy to come to its sessions. Stroev has been a member of the Our Home Is Russia leadership since May. He was elected governor of Orel Oblast on 11 April 1993 and won 80% of the vote in his December 1993 campaign for a seat in the Federation Council. -- Robert Orttung

DUMA PROTESTS BALTIN SACKING.
The Duma on 23 January passed a resolution "firmly protesting" the recent decision by President Yeltsin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kuchma, to dismiss Admiral Eduard Baltin as commander of the Black Sea Fleet, ITAR-TASS reported (see OMRI Daily Digest, 22 January 1996). The resolution, passed by a vote of 276-2, was sponsored by Communist Deputy Valentin Varennikov, a1991 coup plotter who now chairs the Veteran's Affairs Committee, and Lt. Gen. (ret.) Aleksandr Lebed. The resolution said Baltin's departure effectively signaled "the dismantling of the entire Black Sea Fleet" and indirectly criticized Yeltsin for submitting to pressure from Kuchma to sack Baltin. The uncompromising Baltin had long been viewed as an obstacle to a resolution of the Black Sea Fleet dispute. Russian military sources have still not confirmed his dismissal. -- Scott Parrish

KOVALEV QUITS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION.
Human rights activist Sergei Kovalev resigned on 23 January from his post as head of the presidential Human Rights Commission, Russian media reported. Kovalev also said he has decided to leave the Presidential Council. Another prominent reformer, Yegor Gaidar, stepped down from the council, a consultative body, on 22 January. In an open letter to President Yeltsin, Kovalev said he was resigning his posts because of Yeltsin's preference for using forceful methods to solve political problems, the increasing secrecy surrounding the state apparatus, neglect of public opinion, and personnel changes. The parliament stripped Kovalev of the post of human rights commissioner in March for his outspoken opposition to the government's policy in Chechnya, and he has effectively been ignored by Yeltsin. -- Penny Morvant

DUMA TAKES A HAND IN ST. PETERSBURG PROFESSORS' DISPUTE.
The Duma on 23 January recommended that the government take urgent measures to ensure that teachers at higher education establishments in St. Petersburg and elsewhere are paid their wages, ITAR-TASS reported. About 15 union representatives went on hunger strike in Russia's second city on 22 January to press for payment of the government's 200 billion ruble ($43 million) debt to local colleges. In a resolution on wage arrears, the Duma instructed the Russian Federation Accounting Chamber to run a special check on the disbursement of funds to higher education establishments under the 1995 budget. Newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Kinelev claimed that in 1995 the government had been better at fulfilling its budget obligations to the education sector than in 1994 but acknowledged that some areas had been affected by delays in January payments. -- Penny Morvant

DID ORT CENSOR "VZGLYAD"?
Executives at Russian Public TV (ORT) "have not forgotten Soviet propaganda methods," Segodnya reported on 23 January. The paper reported that last week's edition of Aleksandr Lyubimov's news program "Vzglyad" (View) was broadcast on Channel 1 to the Far East in its entirety, but portions about the shelling of Pervomaiskoe were removed from broadcasts west of the Urals. Lyubimov is also a vice president of the VID television company which produces "Vzglyad." He told Segodnya that under ORT's contract with VID, the network does not have the right to alter VID programs without prior agreement. "Vzglyad" was a groundbreaking news program during the Gorbachev era, launching young journalists like Lyubimov and the late Vladislav Listev to national fame. According to Segodnya, during the Soviet period authorities routinely broadcast a "sharp" version of the show in the Far East but toned it down for European parts of the Soviet Union. -- Laura Belin

RESHUFFLE OF REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIONS CONTINUES.
On 22 January, President Boris Yeltsin dismissed the administration heads of Chita, Ivanovo, and Kaluga oblasts, Russian media reported. The day before, Yeltsin had removed his representative in Krasnodar Krai, Vasilii Teterin, the sixth presidential envoy to be fired in the post-election reshuffle of regional officials. The dismissal of governors will leave the regions concerned with only one representative in the Federation Council instead of two for the rest of the year. By law, the parliament's upper house is composed of both executive and legislative heads from every region, but Yeltsin has barred gubernatorial elections from taking place before December 1996. -- Anna Paretskaya

YELTSIN URGES COUNCIL OF EUROPE TO ADMIT RUSSIA.
President Yeltsin urged the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to approve Russia's application for membership on 23 January, Russian and Western agencies reported. The assembly is scheduled to vote on the issue on 25 January, and recent developments in Chechnya have again cast doubt on whether Russia's application for membership in the 38-member organization, pending since 1992, will finally be approved. Yeltsin argued that a rejection of the Russian application would strike a blow against democracy in Russia, and would be interpreted by many as indirect support for "those who are trying to resolve the Chechen conflict through terrorist methods." -- Scott Parrish

HEAD OF NATO TROOPS VISITS MOSCOW.
General George Joulwan, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, met with Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev in Moscow on 23 January, Western agencies reported. He was quoted as praising the Russian forces who are taking part in the Bosnian peace implementation operation, saying they were "well-trained, well-equipped, well-led, and well-motivated." Grachev express concern at the tension between Bosnian Croats and Muslims in the region where his troops are stationed. "If we are dragged into a minor shootout," he told Joulwan, "things could escalate." -- Doug Clarke

DEFENSE COMMITTEE GETS NEW CHAIRMAN.
President Yeltsin dismissed Viktor Glukhikh as chairman of the Russian State Committee for the Defense Industry (Roskomoboronprom) on 23 January and replaced him with Zinovii Pak, Interfax reported. Glukhikh had headed the committee since October 1992. Pak, 56, was the director of the Soyuz defense enterprise in Lyuberets, near Moscow, according to Ekho Moskvy on 23 January. The same source reported that the average salary in defense plants in December was only 414,000 rubles ($90) a month, compared to 616,000 ($135) for the industrial sector as a whole. -- Doug Clarke

CHEMICAL WEAPONS DESTRUCTION FACILITY TO BE BUILT.
Work on a facility to destroy chemical weapons will begin this fall in the village of Gornyi (Saratov Oblast), NTV reported on 22 January. The plant, which will destroy lewisite stored in steel tanks at a Gornyi arsenal, is scheduled to become operational in 1997, although the Duma has yet to appropriate financing for it. In 1989 Russia built a facility in Chapaevsk (Samara Oblast) to destroy chemical weapons, but the plant never went into operation because residents complained it was too close to the city. Current plans call for Russia's 40,000 tons of chemical weapons to be destroyed at facilities built near the seven arsenals in which they are stored. -- Scott Parrish and Doug Clarke

PRODUCTION OF OIL AND GAS DECLINED IN 1995.
Russia produced 307 million metric tons of crude oil in 1995, a 2.9% drop compared to 1994, Interfax reported on 23 January, citing the State Statistics Committee. In 1994 the extraction of oil and gas condensate declined 10% over 1993. The production of crude oil alone fell by 3.8% and totaled 298 million tons. The oil output of joint-stock companies with foreign participation climbed by 29% to 13.5 million tons. In 1995 Russia's production of natural gas fell by 2% from 1994 to 570 billion cubic meters, of which 98% was produced by Gazprom. -- Natalia Gurushina



NIYAZOV VISITS TEHRAN . . .
Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov and his Iranian
counterpart, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, signed accords on oil, gas, agriculture, the construction of roads and a joint dam on the Hari River, the linking of both countries' power networks, and the channeling of water to the Turkmen city of Merv, IRNA reported on 23 January. In a statement aimed at Azerbaijan, the two leaders expressed their concern at the "unilateral and uncontrolled exploitation of the Caspian Sea." -- Lowell Bezanis

. . . AND TALKS WITH TAJIK OPPOSITION LEADER.
While in Tehran, Niyazov met with Tajik opposition leader Said Abdullah Nuri, RFE/RL reported the same day. He informed Nuri that the CIS summit in Moscow had decided to extend the mandate of the Russian-led CIS peacekeepers in Tajikistan, and called on Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov to aggressively pursue a negotiated peace settlement. The next round of inter-Tajik talks will resume on 26 January in Ashgabat. -- Lowell Bezanis

ENERGY CRISIS IN ALMATY.
Fuel shortages have caused suspensions of hot water and electricity to many residential areas of Almaty, according to a 17 January Interfax report. A city administration official was quoted as saying that fuel reserves at power plants will last about three to four days. Fuel shortages have severely curtailed the refueling of flights arriving at Almaty, although foreign airlines that have already paid for fuel are not affected. -- Bhavna Dave

KYRGYZ NEWSPAPER CLOSES.
The Kyrgyz newspaper Stolitsa, which began publishing in November 1995, will close down, according to the paper's editor-in-chief, Kuban Mambetaliev. The independent paper put out only thirteen editions but in that short time acquired a reputation as an opposition voice. MambetAliyev wrote in the 19 January edition of Stolitsa, "An epoch of criticizing is gone, now we need analysis of cause and effect." The closure of Stolitsa will leave only one truly independent newspaper in the country, Res Publica. -- Bruce Pannier



CRIMEAN NEWS.
The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Max van der Stoel arrived in Ukraine on 24 January to examine issues related to Crimean autonomy, ITAR-TASS reported. Van der Stoel will look into problems surrounding the Tatar minority on the peninsula and its draft constitution. In other news, ITAR-TASS on 23 January reported that Crimea has the highest organized crime rate in Ukraine, and the lowest success rate for apprehending criminals. According to Crimean Prosecutor-General Hryhorii Vorsinov, no one has been arrested for any of the 75 contract killings carried out last year;only 32 of the 170 most serious criminal cases were brought to court. Vorsinov said he would take a tough stand against the peninsula's security organs. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ON RE-ELECTION, OTHER PLANS.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said he plans to run for re-election in 1999, Interfax reported on 23 January. He noted that he intends to give the country's six regional executive councils the right to liquidate commercial structures deemed detrimental to the state's interests. Lukashenka added that there would be "serious talks" about the 71,000 commercial enterprises registered in the republic. The Economic News Agency on 22 January reported that Lukashenka signed a decree earlier this month introducing a 10% duty on all foreign currency purchases at the country's Interbank Currency Exchange. Revenues are to be used for the newly established State Support Fund for Exporters. Those buying foreign currency to purchase vital goods will be exempt from the tax, as will those exchanging one currency for another. -- Ustina Markus

BALTIC DEFENSE MINISTERS CONCLUDE 1996 COOPERATION PLAN.
Andrus Oovel (Estonia), Andres Krastins (Latvia), and Linas Linkevicius (Lithuania), following two days of talks in Tallinn, have signed a cooperation plan for 1996, ETA reported on 23 January. Oovel told a press conference that top priorities are preparing the Baltic peacekeeping battalion Baltbat, creating a joint air space surveillance system, and improving the cooperation among the navies. He noted that there were no plans to create a Baltic military union. The three ministers confirmed their desire for closer cooperation with NATO by sending peacekeepers to Bosnia and participating in Partnership for Peace programs. -- Saulius Girnius

NEW HEAD OF ESTONIAN DEFENSE FORCES APPROVED.
The Estonian parliament on 23 January voted by 48 to 24 with seven abstentions to appoint Lt. Col. Johannes Kert as commander-in-chief of the defense forces, ETA reported. The 36-year-old Kert was the head of the volunteer Defense League. He has little formal military education but attended courses on strategic planning at the Marshall Center in Germany. President Lennart Meri promoted him to the rank of colonel later that day. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN FAILS.
Seimas deputy Kazimieras Antanavicius on 23 January announced that the campaign to collect 300,000 signatures in two months in support of a referendum has been unsuccessful, Radio Lithuania reported. The effort got under way in mid-November 1995. No major political party supported the referendum, which contained such populist measures as reducing the number of parliamentary deputies, administrative officials, and ministries as well as revising tax laws. The referendum organizers initially said some 270,000 signatures had been collected but later revised that figure to 206,000. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PRIME MINISTER READY TO RESIGN?
Gazeta Wyborcza on 24 January writes that Jozef Oleksy is expected to resign tomorrow, when the inquiry into spy allegations against him is due to be launched by the Warsaw Military Prosecutor's Office. In the event of the premier's resignation, President Aleksander Kwasniewski has 14 days to appoint a new prime minister and government. Heads of the regional Polish Peasant Party (PSL) organizations, meeting on 23 January in Lublin, were in favor of Oleksy's resignation and changes in some ministerial posts. Head of the Central Planning Office Miroslaw Pietrewicz said he has been asked by the PSL to lead a new government and that he has agreed "in principle," Polish dailies reported on 24 January. -- Jakub Karpinski

FORMER POLISH PRESIDENT INITIATES POLITICAL TALKS.
Lech Walesa, after meeting on 23 January with Freedom Union leaders Leszek Balcerowicz and Bronislaw Geremek, says he sees two possibilities with regard to the future of the opposition: the creation of either a unified bloc or two blocs--one center-left, the other center-right. Walesa wants to meet with the leaders of 15 political groupings on 1 February, Polish dailies reported on 24 January. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH REPUBLIC SUBMITS EU APPLICATION.
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus on 23 January submitted the Czech Republic's formal application to join the European Union. He handed it to Italian Prime Minister Lamberto Dini, the current EU chairman, during a two-day visit to Rome. In a memorandum accompanying the application, the Czech government said that it welcomed the process of European integration and that the Czech Republic has traditionally been a part of Western European civilization, Czech media reported. The Czech Republic is the ninth postcommunist country to apply for EU membership; Hungary and Poland submitted their applications in 1994, while Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania followed suit last year. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK-UKRAINIAN AGREEMENTS SIGNED.
Slovak and Ukrainian cabinet officials, meeting in the High Tatras on 23 January, signed agreements on double taxation, tax evasion, and cultural cooperation. The two governments discussed cooperation in the armaments industry and conversion as well as construction of a highway linking the two countries, which Slovakia wants to complete by the year 2005. Ukrainian Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk said he and his Slovak counterpart, Vladimir Meciar, discussed in detail the creation of a free trade zone. Marchuk, who expressed discontent over the 1995 volume of bilateral trade of $290 million, said the talks have paved the way to increase this amount to up to $1 billion in 1996, Narodna obroda reported. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN BOSNIA, CROATIA.
Gyorgy Keleti met with IFOR commander in chief Admiral Leighton Smith and Bosnian Defense Minister Jadranko Prlic in Sarajevo on 23 January to discuss Hungarian participation in the Bosnian peacekeeping effort, Hungarian media reported. Prlic said Bosnia welcomes the presence of the Hungarian technical battalion and thanked Hungary for receiving Bosnian refugees during the war. During his three-day visit, Keleti met with Serbian military officials in Belgrade and Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak in Zagreb. He announced that a Hungarian-Croatian military agreement will be signed in Budapest in early February. -- Zsofia Szilagyi



HAGUE TRIBUNAL "LAUNCHES OFFENSIVE."
AFP on 23 January reported that British Prime Minister John Major told a questioner in the parliament that British troops would conduct foot patrols and air surveys to prevent the destruction of evidence of atrocities. In The Hague, a spokesman for the war crimes tribunal said that investigations of mass grave sites near Srebrenica would begin soon. The Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes on 24 January noted that the court is "launching an offensive" against war criminals. Nasa Borba added that hearings will soon be held in the case of several persons previously indicted, including the major figures: Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic, and the Croats Dario Kordic and General Tihomir Blaskic. The court will also report to the UN Security Council the names of countries that are not cooperating in prosecuting war criminals. -- Patrick Moore

NATO CERTIFIES BOSNIAN SERB COMPLIANCE BUT SANCTIONS REMAIN.
NATO has sent a letter to the UN certifying that the parties to the Bosnian conflict have "complied with the requirement to withdraw their forces from the zones of separation," international agencies reported on 23 January. Under the terms of a November 1995 UN Security Council resolution on the Dayton peace accords, this should have led to the automatic suspension of sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs. But European members of the council are apparently unwilling to agree to a lifting of the sanctions without more detailed information. Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Rajko Kasagic told Radio Bijeljina that he did not understand why sanctions had not been lifted yet. He underscored that the Republic Srpska has sought to cooperate not only with rump Yugoslavia but also with Croatia. -- Michael Mihalka and Daria Sito Sucic

DATA EXCHANGE AT OSCE ARMS CONTROL TALKS.
The exchange of data on major weapons took place at the OSCE arms control talks on 23 January, after a delay of 10 days, international agencies reported. Belgrade had cited "technical reasons" for its failure to hand in its list. Croatia and the Bosnian warring factions are also participating in the talks. Norwegian General Vigleik Eide, who is chairing the talks, called the exchange of data, "a very important step" but said that a "lot of work" would be necessary to convince all sides that the data are reliable. -- Michael Mihalka

IFOR TIGHTENS SECURITY FOLLOWING EXTREMIST THREAT.
IFOR has tightened security following reports that Muslim extremist groups may attack US targets in Bosnia. The New York Times on 24 January reported that attacks would be in retaliation for the sentencing of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman this month in New York. U.S. intelligence has reported a recent increase in activities of Islamic volunteer groups who have been seen observing U.S. installations. "Foreign fighters" were supposed to have left Bosnia by 19 January, but many have reportedly remained, including 150-200 Iranian Revolutionary Guards. -- Michael Mihalka

SANDZAK MUSLIMS URGED NOT TO HELP "ETHNIC CLEANSING."
Sarajevo's Vecernje novine on 24 January reported that Bosnia's governing Muslim party, the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), has appealed to Muslims in Sandzak not to exchange their homes and other real estate with Bosnian Serbs. This practice is followed by some Bosnian Muslims and helps solidify "ethnic cleansing" by creating ethnically homogenous areas, which is contrary to the concept of Bosnia as a multiethnic state, set down in the Dayton agreement and endorsed especially by the Sarajevo government. Sandzak is divided between Serbia and Montenegro, but its Muslim majority feels close to the Bosnian Muslims and is led by the SDA. Sarajevo is apparently anxious lest the Muslim position in Sandzak be weakened. -- Patrick Moore

MILOSEVIC ALLIES HIT BOSNIAN CAMPAIGN TRAIL.
Since the signing of the Dayton peace accords, open challenges to the virtual monopoly held by Bosnia's three main ethnically-based parties have gradually emerged. One threat to Radovan Karadzic's Serbian Democratic Party comes from the Socialist Party of the Republika Srpska (SPRS), which appears to be a clone of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialists. Nasa Borba on 24 January reported that a delegation from the SPRS and its ally the United Left called on their mentor in Belgrade to discuss the situation in Bosnia and to urge closer links between the Republika Srpska and Serbia. AFP reported from Brcko that SPRS leader Dragutin Ilic told voters that their key to the future is to "put in place a social system resembling that of [rump] Yugoslavia" and that his party is the one to bring close ties with Belgrade about. Ilic, like so many of the politicians in postcommunist ex-Yugoslavia, is a medical doctor by profession. -- Patrick Moore

SERBIAN RADICAL SAYS HE WILL TESTIFY AGAINST MILOSEVIC.
Vojislav Seselj, leader of the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party and an accused war criminal, has said he wants to go the Hague to testify against Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, international media reported on 23 January. Seselj maintained he can prove that Milosevic is responsible for war crimes throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina and that Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and his military counterpart, Ratko Mladic, were only indirectly, if at all, responsible for commanding forces in Bosnia. Seselj noted that key members of the Bosnian Serb military command structure remain on Belgrade's payroll. Earlier this month, Seselj complained bitterly about difficulties he had encountered in obtaining a passport, prompting speculation that Milosevic wants to keep Seselj in Serbia so that he cannot testify. -- Stan Markotich

CROATIA TO ACCEPT EU ARBITRATION IN MOSTAR.
Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic has told the Council of Europe in Strasbourg that Croatia will accept EU arbitration in Mostar if Croats and Muslims cannot solve their dispute by themselves, Nasa Borba reported on 24 January. Granic also informed the council that more than 2O suspected war criminals in Croatia would go on trial. He added that over 1,000 suspected war criminals were currently being investigated. The Croatian parliament is expected to pass a bill next month on cooperation with the Hague-based International War Crimes Tribunal. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MONTENEGRIN-BRITISH SOCIETY FOUNDED.
Montena-fax on 23 January reported that a Montenegrin-British Society has opened in Cetinje. Its function is to foster bilateral ties, specifically in areas such as science, culture, and sports. British government official Ivor Roberts noted that ties between Britain and Montenegro have historically been close and mutually beneficial. -- Stan Markotich

IS BELGRADE BLOCKING USIA OFFICE IN KOSOVO?
Margit Savovic, rump Yugoslav Minister without portfolio in charge of civil liberties and minority rights, on 22 January said "Kosovo and Metohija are an integral part of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia," adding that Serbia will not allow this issue to be internationalized, MILS reported on 23 January. Savovic was referring to plans, announced earlier this month by U.S. negotiator Richard Holbrooke, to open a U.S. representation in the province--probably a USIA office. She pointed out that the U.S. would have to consult with Belgrade before opening the office. Turkey is also reportedly considering opening a consular office in Pristina. -- Fabian Schmidt

NEW MACEDONIAN CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF TAKES OVER.
President Kiro Gligorov on 23 January appointed Col. Gen. Trajche Krstevski as chief of general staff. He replaces Col. Gen. Dragoljub Bocinov, who recently retired. Krstevski was a career officer in the former Yugoslav army for 30 years. He left his last post in Croatia in 1991 to return to Macedonia and was appointed deputy chief of general staff in April 1992. -- Stefan Krause

ROMANIAN-MOLDOVAN DIPLOMATIC NEWS.
Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu on 23 January received a Moldovan delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Aurelian Danila. Romanian media reported that the two sides discussed organizing an inter-ministerial meeting in Chisinau and decided to restart negotiations on a bilateral basic treaty. The same day, a Romanian group seeking the liberation of Ilie Ilascu, who is currently detained in Tiraspol for alleged terrorist acts against the self-proclaimed Dniester authorities, announced they were seeking the reunification of Moldova with Romania. They also proposed the formation of a "unification group" in the Romanian parliament, saying that "the signing of treaties with Ukraine and Moldova is too sensitive a matter to be left in the hands of the Foreign Ministry." -- Matyas Szabo

MOLDOVAN, DNIESTER LEADERS MEET.
Leaders of the Republic of Moldova and the self-proclaimed "Dniester republic" met in Chisinau on 23 January, Infotag reported. The Moldovan team included President Mircea Snegur, Parliamentary Chairman Petru Lucinschi, and Finance Minister Valeriu Chitan. President Igor Smirnov and Supreme Soviet Chairman Grigorii Marakutsa headed the Dniester side. The meeting focused on economic issues, especially how to implement a July 1995 agreement on monetary and credit arrangements. The Dniester leaders asked Chisinau not to hinder the transportation of Dniester bank notes, printed in Munich, through Moldovan territory. Infotag reported that the meeting was brokered by the OSCE mission in Moldova and by the special envoys of the Russian and Ukrainian presidents to the Moldovan-Dniester negotiations. -- Dan Ionescu

WAS BULGARIAN MINISTERS' ELECTION ILLEGAL?
The Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) has issued a statement saying the 23 January election of Atanas Paparizov and Svetoslav Shivarov as trade and agriculture ministers violated parliamentary procedures, Demokratsiya reported. The opposition objects to the fact that the old ministers were dismissed and the new ones appointed without debate. The opposition boycotted the vote, and both the SDS and the People's Union are reportedly considering taking the matter to the Constitutional Court. Meanwhile, former Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Kiril Tsochev told Standart that he already had decided to quit in October 1995 because he was under constant criticism from the Socialists. -- Stefan Krause

TURKEY TO TRAIN BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT ARMY.
Turkey will provide military training to the Bosnian government army under an agreement signed in Sarajevo on 22 January, Reuters reported. Further details on the agreement were unavailable. Bosnian General Rasim Delic, who signed the protocol for the Bosnian side, noted that the agreement "is only a beginning" and that "we expect huge aid from Turkey." -- Lowell Bezanis

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave




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